DENVER, CO – The House Judiciary Committee today passed two bipartisan bills that will improve public safety and prevent crime.
“This legislation will address the rising crime we’re seeing in our communities and across the nation that has come as a result of the pandemic and the strain of the economic disruptions that followed,” said Rep. Alex Valdez, D-Denver. “This bill focuses on proven strategies such as co-responder models and violence interruption programs to prevent crime before it happens and reduce recidivism. It also provides significant resources to law enforcement to recruit, train and retain a high quality, diverse workforce that reflects the communities they serve.”
SB22-145, the Community Safety Investment Act, is sponsored by Representatives Alex Valdez and Perry Will. The bill will establish critical crime prevention programs and address workforce shortages in law enforcement. Research shows that crime prevention strategies that include collaboration between communities and local law enforcement are most effective. The bill will create three grant programs within the Department of Public Safety:
The first grant program will provide $7.5 million over two years to community-based organizations and local law enforcement agencies to implement collaborative, data-driven intervention strategies such as co-responder programs, violence interrupter programs, early intervention teams, and restorative justice services in identified high-crime areas.
The second grant program will provide law enforcement agencies with $3.75 million over two years to help recruit and retain staff, as well as improve training curriculums, including mental health training.
The third grant program – the State’s Mission for Assistance in Recruitment and Training (SMART) policing grant – will provide $3.75 million over two years to help local law enforcement agencies recruit and train officers that better represent the communities they serve.
The bill also establishes a front-end stakeholder crime prevention forum, and provides funding for oversight and administration within the Colorado Department of Public Safety which will administer the grant programs. It passed 8-3.
“SB22-005 will help law enforcement departments recruit and retain qualified peace officers and will provide additional resources to help officers when they experience traumatic events,” said Rep. Dylan Roberts, D-Avon. “We’ve heard the tragic stories from officers who have witnessed horrific situations while serving their communities. It’s time we support them with the counseling services and peer support they need.”
SB22-005, sponsored by Representatives Dylan Roberts and Dan Woog, would direct $5 million to a program that helps law enforcement agencies retain and recruit qualified and trained POST-certified officers. The funding would expand access to behavioral health and counseling support for law enforcement officers to support peace officers and prevent peace officer suicide deaths. The bill passed 9-1.